The Human Toll of the US Drone Campaign
The principal reason so little attention is paid to the constant victims of American violence in the Muslim world is because the U.S. Government refuses to disclose anything about these attacks and media outlets virtually never report on those victims...
It’s easy to cheer for a leader who regularly extinguishes the lives of innocent men, women, teeangers and young children when you can remain blissfully free of hearing about the victims. It’s even easier when the victims all have Muslim-ish names and live in the parts of the Muslim world we’ve been taught to view as a cauldron of sub-human demons. That’s why it’s periodically worth highlighting the actual impact of those drones and the actual people they kill, as the BBC did [yesterday]:
When tribal elders from the remote Pakistani region of North Waziristan travelled to Islamabad last week to protest against CIA drone strikes, a teenager called Tariq Khan was among them.
A BBC team caught him on camera, sitting near the front of a tribal assembly, or jirga, listening carefully.
Four days later he was dead – killed by one of the drones he was protesting against.
His family told us two missiles hit the 16-year-old on Monday near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan. His 12-year-old cousin Wahid was killed alongside him. . . .
After the missile strike on Monday, Pakistani officials said four suspected militants had been killed.
If the strike actually killed two young boys – as appears to be the case – it’s unlikely anyone will ever be held to account. . . .
Many senior commanders from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are among the dead. But campaigners claim there have been hundreds of civilian victims, whose stories are seldom told.A shy teenage boy called Saadullah is one of them. He survived a drone strike that killed three of his relatives, but he lost both legs, one eye and his hope for the future.
“I wanted to be a doctor,” he told me, “but I can’t walk to school anymore. When I see others going, I wish I could join them.”
Like Tariq, Saadullah travelled to Islamabad for last week’s jirga. Seated alongside him was Haji Zardullah, a white-bearded man who said he lost four nephews in a separate attack.
“None of these were harmful people,” he said. “Two were still in school and one was in college.”
The article quotes the international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith arguing that because Pakistan is not a war zone, these killings are “murder.”
Read the full article at Salon.com
© 2011 Salon.com